U-M archaeologist Arthur Jelinek—a specialist in lithic technology who has published extensively on the Mousterian culture of Europe and the Middle East—donated these artifacts to the Museum in 1965, as part of a representative collection of several hundred Middle and Upper Paleolithic stone tools from “various archaeological sites in France.” These three artifacts come from the cave of Combe Grenal in Dordogne, France, where the archaeological deposits are more than 13 meters deep and date from about 175,000 to 50,000 years ago. The abundant lithic remains and deep deposits made Combe Grenal an extremely important site for understanding the way lithic technology changed over this wide span of time. French archaeologist François Bordes excavated the site from 1953 to 1965. The artifacts shown here are examples of distinctive Mousterian Levallois flaking techniques, in which the makers—likely Neanderthals—modified stone cores in order to pre-shape the desired tool before removing it from the core. The object on the left is a spent Levallois core, while the two objects on the right are Levallois points.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.